Friday, April 18, 2014

Book Blast (Giveaway): Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum

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Title: Big Fat Disaster
Author:
Beth Fehlbaum
Publisher: Merit Press
Book Blast Organizer: Book Nerd Tours
Release Date: April 18, 2014

Insecure, shy, and way overweight, Colby hates the limelight as much as her pageant-pretty mom and sisters love it. It's her life: Dad's a superstar, running for office on a family values platform. Then suddenly, he ditches his marriage for a younger woman and gets caught stealing money from the campaign. Everyone hates Colby for finding out and blowing the whistle on him. From a mansion, they end up in a poor relative's trailer, where her mom's contempt swells right along with Colby's supersized jeans. Then, a cruel video of Colby half-dressed, made by her cousin Ryan, finds its way onto the internet. Colby plans her own death. A tragic family accident intervenes, and Colby's role in it seems to paint her as a hero, but she's only a fraud. Finally, threatened with exposure, Colby must face facts about her selfish mother and her own shame. Harrowing and hopeful, proof that the truth that saves us can come with a fierce and terrible price, Big Fat Disaster is that rare thing, a story that is authentically new.

Book Trailer



Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound



About the Author

In addition to writing Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Beth Fehlbaum is an experienced English teacher who frequently draws on her experience as an educator to write her books. She has a B.A. in English, Minor in Secondary Education, and an M.Ed. in Reading. She is currently a Library Science student at Sam Houston State University.

Beth is the author of Big Fat Disaster (Merit Press/F+W Media, March 2014); Courage in Patience (Kunati Books, 2008); and Hope in Patience (WestSide Books, 2010). Hope in Patience was named a 2011 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Truth in Patience, which rounds out The Patience Trilogy, is as yet unpublished. The Patience Trilogy has been revised and is available for acquisition!

Beth has a following in the young adult literature world and also among survivors of sexual abuse because of her work with victims’ advocacy groups. She has been the keynote speaker at the National Crime Victims’ Week Commemoration Ceremony at the Hall of State in Dallas, Texas and a presenter for Greater Texas Community Partners, where she addressed a group of social workers and foster children on the subject of “Hope”.

Beth is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, like Ashley in The Patience Trilogy, and the day-to-day manager of an eating disorder much like Colby’s in Big Fat Disaster. These life experiences give her a unique perspective, and she writes her characters’ stories in a way meant to inspire hope.

Beth lives with her family in the woods of East Texas.

Find Beth Online
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Book Nerd Tours

Giveaway



1 Winner will get a Signed Hardcover of Big Fat Disaster as well as a surprise pack of other Merit Books titles.

Must be 13+ to Enter
US ONLY
Ends at 12:01am EST on April

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Early Review: (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

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Title: (Don't You) Forget About Me
Author:
Kate Karyus Quinn
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
Release Date: June 10, 2014

Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And almost no one ever dies.

Except…

There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.


My Review

(Don't You) Forget About Me is a YA novel by Kate Karyus Quinn that goes heavy on the magical realism and the strange. It has been compared to Stephen King's work - and for good reason - but not for the gory horror that many expect but the exceedingly queer world-building that you may not understand until the very end - if at all. (Don't You) Forget About Me's setting of Gardnerville and main character, Skylar, will capture your interest but leave you scratching your head until the last chapters.

The world of (Don't You) Forget About Me is not for the faint of heart. You have to go in expecting that you will be entering a town that has completely different rules than our own reality, and you won't have a reliable narrator to share the facts with you. Skylar (a.k.a. "Sky") has kept herself doped up on forget-me-nots, a sort of herbal medication created by teenagers in the high school's lab, because she doesn't want to deal with the loss of Piper from her life. We learn about Gardnerville, Sky, and her relationship with Piper through a series of flashbacks that come every other chapter. There are no truly coherent present-day Sky chapters until maybe the last quarter of the novel.

Personally, I haven't decided whether or not I liked either Sky or Piper. Sky stayed way too strung out at the beginning of the book, and I get that was her way of dealing with the loss of her sister and the circumstances surrounding it. Piper is introduced through the flashbacks, and she was a very domineering older sibling. She called all the shots and herded Sky through her early years. Yes, that was probably why Sky was so lost without Piper, but still. I also have to give a special side-eye to Sky's mom and great-grandmother for not stepping in with her being incoherent from the drugs for FOUR FREAKIN' YEARS.

(Don't You) Forget About Me is also a bit of a mystery when Sky surfaces from her drug-induced hazes and tries to figure out the fate of Piper. It is hard to tell whether or not Piper was killed along with her classmates and Skylar can't let go, or if there is something stranger going on in Gardnerville. You also get to figure out Foote, Elton, and all the other weird supporting characters. (GG is the best, by the way.)

The only thing really bad I have to say about (Don't You) Forget About Me is how it wrapped up at the end. I mean, I love some weird (I did intentionally give birth to my daughter on Stephen King's birthday, after all), but the weird really needs to have some tight explanations and a tight ending. Now, I know I don't get to pick the endings of books, but there was one twist of the book (ask me about it on Twitter if you want to know which one) that really just left me scratching my head. All I could think was, "why that?"

Despite my feelings about the twists at the end and the somewhat vague ending, (Don't You) Forget About Me was an enjoyable book that I think would be a good stepping stone for readers getting ready to delve into horror. Quinn is also an author who impressed me quite a bit with her writing style, and I'll be reading Another Little Piece this summer when my reading schedule allows for it.

- 3.5/5 Stars -

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Fishpond



To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blog Tour (Interview): PERFIDITAS by Alison Morton

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Please join Alison Morton as she tours virtually for PERFIDITAS (Book II, Roma Nova Series) from April 14-May 16 with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours!

PERFIDITAS

Publication Date: October 17, 2014
SilverWood Books
Paperback; 288p, ISBN-10: 1781321248
eBook; ASIN: B00FXY4GEE

Captain Carina Mitela of the Praetorian Guard Special Forces is in trouble – one colleague has tried to kill her and another has set a trap to incriminate her in a conspiracy to topple the government of Roma Nova.

Founded sixteen hundred years ago by Roman dissidents and ruled by women, Roma Nova barely survived a devastating coup d’état thirty years ago. Carina swears to prevent a repeat and not merely for love of country.

Seeking help from a not quite legal old friend could wreck her marriage to the enigmatic Conrad. Once proscribed and operating illegally, she risks being terminated by both security services and conspirators. As she struggles to overcome the desperate odds and save her beloved Roma Nova and her own life, she faces the ultimate betrayal…


Interview

Hi, Mrs. Morton! Thank you so much for stopping by Bibliophilia, Please to answer some questions. Please tell us a little bit about PERFIDITAS in your own words but with a Twitter twist – 140 characters or less.

A girl’s own adventure with 21st century Romans, love, conspiracy and betrayal, but who can she trust? #BRAGMedallionwinner‬

What inspired you to write a Roman-based alternate history series?

Three things: firstly, a deep fascination with Rome, a life of clambering over Roman walls, cricking my neck looking up at aqueducts, walking on mosaics and handling Roman coins, glass and jewellery. Next, a little worm planted in my head at an early age wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by women. And lastly, the dreadful dialogue and storyline in beautifully shot film. I knew I could do better than that…

What kind of research have you done for the Roma Nova series?

Waiting on Wednesday (50): Banishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



Title: Banishing the Dark (Arcadia Bell #4)
Author:
Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: May 27, 2014

The fourth and final installment of a "riveting" (RT Book Reviews) urban fantasy series about a renegade mage and the demons who love her.

Complicated does not begin to describe Arcadia Bell's life right now: unnatural magical power, another brush with death, and a murderous mother who's not only overbearing but determined to take permanent possession of Cady's body. Forced to delve deep into the mystery surrounding her own birth, Cady must uncover which evil spell her parents cast during her conception…and how to reverse it. Fast. As she and her lover Lon embark on a dangerous journey through her magical past, Lon's teenage son Jupe sneaks off for his own investigation. Each family secret they uncover is darker than the last, and Cady, who has worn many identities—Moonchild, mage, fugitive—is about to add one more to the list.


I just finished the first three not so long ago and I loved them. I'm so excited that this one is coming out in just a few short weeks! I can't wait to see how Bennett ends the series, although I'm sad to see it go. I already have the first book in one of Bennett's other series, Roaring Twenties, at my house.

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blog Tour (Review): The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor

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Today marks the 102nd anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and I am honored to share my review of The Girl Who Came Home with you.



Title: The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic
Author:
Hazel Gaynor
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Acquired Via:
TLC Book Tours

A voyage across the ocean becomes the odyssey of a lifetime for a young Irish woman. . . .

Ireland, 1912 . . .

Fourteen members of a small village set sail on RMS
Titanic, hoping to find a better life in America. For seventeen-year-old Maggie Murphy, the journey is bittersweet. Though her future lies in an unknown new place, her heart remains in Ireland with Séamus, the sweetheart she left behind. When disaster strikes, Maggie is one of the few passengers in steerage to survive. Waking up alone in a New York hospital, she vows never to speak of the terror and panic of that fateful night again.

Chicago, 1982 . . .

Adrift after the death of her father, Grace Butler struggles to decide what comes next. When her great-grandmother Maggie shares the painful secret about
Titanic that she's harbored for almost a lifetime, the revelation gives Grace new direction—and leads both her and Maggie to unexpected reunions with those they thought lost long ago.

Inspired by true events, The Girl Who Came Home poignantly blends fact and fiction to explore the
Titanic tragedy's impact and its lasting repercussions on survivors and their descendants.

My Review

The Girl Who Came Home is a historical fiction novel about the Titanic that is unlike any other that I have ever read. I felt an intense connection to all the characters, and I cried my eyes out at the end, but probably for reasons that you would expect. There is romance in the story, but nothing ill-fated originating aboard the doomed vessel. The Girl Who Came Home also focused more on the characters than the actual disaster that took place on April 15, 1912.

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Things That I Would Like to Own

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Bookish Things (That Aren't Books) That I Would Like to Own

1. More Bookshelves!

One can never have too many bookshelves, correct?



2. Book Map

How awesome is this!?! A map full of literary places...I want it so badly! Too bad I don't have even an ounce of wall space left in my apartment. :(

Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: Twisted Miracles by A.J. Larrieu

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Title: Twisted Miracles (The Shadowminds #1)
Author:
A.J. Larrieu
Publisher: Carina Press
Acquired Via: NetGalley
Release Date: April 7, 2014

Cass Weatherfield’s powers come with a deadly price.

Cass knows it was her telekinetic gift that killed a college classmate five years back, even if no one else believes her. She’s lived in hiding from her fellow shadowminds ever since, plagued by guilt and suppressing her abilities with sedatives. Until the night her past walks back into her life in the form of sexy Shane Tanner, the ex-boyfriend who trained her…and the one she left without saying goodbye.

When Shane tells her that his twin sister, Mina—Cass’s childhood friend—is missing, Cass vows to help, which means returning to New Orleans to use her dangerous skills in the search. But finding Mina only leads to darker questions. As Cass and Shane race to learn who is targeting shadowminds, they find themselves drawn to each other, body and soul. Just as their powerful intimacy reignites, events take a terrifying turn, and Cass realizes that to save the people she loves, she must embrace the powers that ruined her life.


My Review

I might be a little biased because I love a good Louisiana story, but I really enjoyed A.J. Larrieu’s first novel Twisted Miracles. One of the best parts was that the dialogue between the characters felt real and true. There was no over-the-top fake southern accents and drawls. I didn’t have to see the word “cher” for every endearment. I could tell the book was written by someone who had lived in Louisiana.